As I mentioned in my 06.02.20 Tuesday Takeaways, I'm going to start posting my most interesting weekly thoughts, coupled with the best of my listening and reading list, and occasional MergeLane portfolio news. If you’d like to follow these Takeaway Tuesdays and our occasional blog posts, you can subscribe to our blog or follow me on twitter.
Here’s the best of what I’ve read and listened to this week:
Like many of you, I am doing a lot of thinking about how I can most effectively step up to support the end of racism. I learned a lot by reading How to Be a Good White Ally, According to Activists and have taken many of the suggested actions in this article.
Listen of the week: Rebecca Carroll’s interview with the author of White Fragility. I highly recommend the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, but I recommend listening to this interview before you read it. Rebecca Caroll offers her perspective and some of her resistance to the book as a person of color. It changed the way I related to the book for the better.
Thoughts about thinking big: I interviewed Dick Rothkopf, co-founder of Learning Curve International, the manufacturer of the Thomas the Tank Engine Toys, about the patterns he's seen in entrepreneurs who are able to visualize and execute BIG ideas. Among many words of wisdom, he shared a story about how he missed an opportunity to launch an iTunes-scale music subscription business far before Steve Jobs conceived of the idea. Dick managed to secure initial support from major music labels, but he allowed the deal to fall through because he was closed to the possibility that the structure of the opportunity could look different than what he envisioned. You can hear the full episode here: Fund81 Episode #28: Finding BIG-Thinking and Executing Entrepreneurs.
I also listened to a bunch of other interviews on the topic of thinking big. I noticed that I had a hard time really listening to one particularly interesting interviewee because she sounded so rehearsed. Despite her rockstar resume, I also found myself questioning her credibility because of what I read as an apologetic and naive tone of her voice. These are two patterns that I’ve fallen into. It was a gift to see these patterns in action.
The best example I have ever seen of how to position yourself as a leader, without speaking a single negative word about your competitors or people who think differently than you do, I listened to this interview with David Brown, the CEO of Techstars. Although the content may not be relevant to you (it’s about the power of accelerators for startups), it’s worth a listen. Despite several invitations to criticize his competitors, he took the high road every time. This is a new bar that I am going to aspire to, and I hope it will become a model for politicians, CEOs, and other leaders in our world.
Is there anything I should be reading or listening to next week? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Upcoming Fund81 VC Forum Events
Spring Fund81 Startup Spotlight (June 16)
We’re sourcing five startups from our Fund81 VC Forum members to pitch at our June forum. Apply to join our VC forum here.
Upcoming Leadership Camp Events
Mini-Camp (Virtual) (July 14)
Leadership Camp (September 25-26)
I’ve spent most of my life learning how to turn off my passion for just long enough to eat and sleep. I’ve never had to learn how to turn it on. After a recent long stretch without that passion, here's my hypothesis as to why I think it is coming back.Read more ➞
I tried for many years to maintain a jam-packed schedule with zero margin for error, but life never seems to fit into perfectly scheduled boxes. After a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back moment, I’m learning to live off of the brink of disaster.Read more ➞
I've spent more time than necessary on our fund administration and reporting, in part because of some of the easily avoidable administrative mistakes I’ve made over my 10-year journey as a startup investor.Read more ➞
Over these past two months and throughout all of 2020, I've learned something that I want to record to make sure that I remember: My anxiety about the potential outcomes is almost always worse than the actual outcome.Read more ➞